John and Ann Betar have been named the longest married couple in America – 81 years married! John is now 102 years old and Ann is 98 and this past November they celebrated their 81st wedding anniversary. Wow!
Back in 1932 the two fled their home town, as well as Ann’s disapproving father. Her dad had plans for her to marry a man 20 years older than her. But it was John, the boy who lived across the street, whom she loved and wanted to marry.
The young couple eloped on November 25, 1932, fleeing their close-knit neighborhood in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
They got into John’s Ford Roadster and drove as fast as they could to Harrison, New York, to avoid Ann’s father’s and his plans to marry Ann off to his choice of husband.
‘Everyone was hopping mad, and my wife’s aunt consoled my father-in-law by telling him not to worry, the marriage won’t last,’ added a chuckling John.
Ann Betar, 98, said she ‘had no choice but to elope because my father was set on me marrying a much older man, and I was 17. John was not the boy next door, but the boy across the street who I loved,’ she said.
‘He was 21 and used to drive me to high school in his Ford Roadster,’ she added.
‘That’s why she married me, she loved that car,’ joked John, as he sat on a couch holding his wife’s hand in the waterfront house they have shared since 1964.
John’s advice for a long and happy marriage: “The key is to always agree with your wife.”
Happy Wife, Happy Life
According to a study from the University of Berkeley, a happy wife is one of the major keys to a long relationship, especially if you have a disagreement. Researchers found a wife’s ability to keep calm and quickly regain composure after an argument was the key to long-term marital satisfaction, and was far more important than a husband’s post-fight reaction.
Psychologist Lian Bloch was the lead author of the study. “When it comes to managing negative emotion during conflict, wives really matter,”she says “Emotions such as anger and contempt can seem very threatening for couples. But our study suggests that if spouses, especially wives, are able to calm themselves, their marriages can continue to thrive.”
The longest married couple in America have experienced a lot in their 8+ decade relationship including raising their 5 children, two who have already passed on, a son and daughter, both claimed by cancer. Their oldest child is now 80 and they have 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
These two even complete each other’s sentences. “We’ll be together forever,” said John, and Ann added, “somewhere we will be.” What an inspiration!
Photo: MICHELLE MCLOUGHLIN / Reuters